That's not to say that these twenty months were unproductive. The Fringemunks, after all, did release seventeen Season 4 songs, three Season 5 songs, a contest entry song, and a Christmas album all in that time span.
So why the delay with Season 3 songs, of which only three remain?
"It might be part psychological, part difficulty, part indifference" says Wu, who now only needs to complete song recaps for episodes "Reciprocity," "LSD," and the season finale "The Day We Died" to finish the Season 3 album.
Of the 100 total Fringe episodes, this new release - "Epis. 3.20: 6:02 AM EST" - is the 82nd song recap. Although it recaps a 2011 episode, Wu uses the musical and lyrical sensibility that he has been employing in more recent material. "It has to reflect how I feel about the episode now, because we are in the 'now', and we're no longer in the past," says Wu. "And it works for this song. It is from Walter's point of view, and he has changed. He is crying. Instruments in his head are different and more profound and direct."
With lyrics such as Last year, I received a sign from Thee / a white tulip You sent to me / I believed you had forgiven me, the Fringemunks are at their most spiritual - complete with fanfare horns, subtle organs, and banjo-like steel guitar meshing together in the song's instrumental backdrop. And yet amidst the spiritual content, there is the comedy. I bumped into Olivia, who screwed Peter the previous night, goes one of the earlier lyric lines. It is a nod to the other Season 3 songs, while also showing that the project isn't afraid to go where most lyricists don't care to venture. "Whatever the case, there's no way I would have written these same lyrics two years ago," says Wu.
The Fringemunks started off with a buzz in Fall 2008, just a few weeks into Fringe's five-season run, but now each new song is lucky to get a few "likes" and "shares" on Facebook, or even retweets on Twitter.
"These are lean times for Fringe fan projects, now that the show is over," Wu admits. "But with this new song release, and the 18 remaining, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and still a lot of great music to make and lyrics to write for this project. And being that fan projects are now a bit thin, this means that the Fringemunks likely obtain more of a percentage of the audience, albeit a smaller cumulative amount."
The project almost came to an end after Season 3 broadcasts ended. "At the time," says Wu, "the series' end was not defined, so I knew that committing further to The Fringemunks would mean that it would put a damper on the rest of my side music career as long as there were unreleased songs. It reached a boiling point, when I said 'forget it.'"
In early Fall 2011, Wu in fact announced the project's retirement, to the dismay of many. But this retirement was short-lived, as Wu devised a plan for the Season 4 songs. "Basically I was going to parody the entire White Album (the nickname for the Beatles' eponymous 1968 album), in order. The season premiere would be - and was - a parody of 'Back in the U.S.S.R.,' while the finale would have parodied 'Revolution 9' and 'Goodnight.' It was a crazy idea, abandoned after four songs - but it saved the project. And the 4 songs are among the best, even if the subject matter wasn't the greatest."
Yet all the while, the Season 3 episodes remained on the shelf. "I always knew I wanted to finish them," says Wu, "but I just wasn't in the mood at the time." But now, with only three songs remaining from that middle season, the album's stock is up.
Click here to listen to the new song, "Epis. 3.20: 6:02 AM EST."